Last week, videos emerged from Texas - embroiled in a heated battle over proposed abortion restrictions - that showed abortion rights and anti-abortion activists facing off in epic fashion.
As anti-abortion protesters sang "Amazing Grace" outside the statehouse in Austin, abortion rights activists appeared to heckle them with the chant: "Hail Satan!" Children of abortion rights activists held up provocative signs such as "Stay out of my mommy's vagina," while children of anti-abortion protesters allegedly filled out witness registration cards for their parents. Abortion rights protesters stood dressed in coat hangers, while anti-abortion activists vigorously prayed. Both sides insisted they knew what was best for the health of women in Texas.
And on Monday, as state legislators hold an all-day hearing on the bill containing the proposed abortion restrictions, the battle looks like it's about to get nastier.
Monday night, dueling anti-abortion and abortion rights protests are planned outside the state Capitol.
Abortion rights activists plan to hold a demonstration starting at the Capitol front gate at 8 p.m., while anti-abortion protesters will hold a rally on the Capitol's south steps at 7 p.m. That rally will feature speeches by Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, and "19 Kids & Counting" reality show stars Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, who will speak to members of anti-abortion groups that include the Susan B. Anthony List, Concerned Women for America, and March for Life.
The youth anti-abortion group Students for Life expects to also have dozens of protesters in attendance, having bussed activists down from Washington D.C., a 30 hour ride, on Monday, and picked up more students along the way in Nashville, Knoxville, and Memphis, Tenn., as well as Little Rock, Ark., and Dallas, Texas.
One anti-abortion group, LetTexasSpeak.com, is already out in force outside the Capitol. A live stream from the groups shows supporters gathered in a circle praying, while some have stepped forward to testify about abortions they regret. One woman recounted having gone to a Texas Planned Parenthood center as a pregnant "single mother living on Medicare, Medicaid, and living in a shack" and said the group directed her to several local abortion clinics. "They didn't give me an abortion brochure. They didn't care about me as a woman," she said, before nearly descending into tears.
At the abortions rights rally Monday night, "Stand and March with Texas Women," protesters are expected to make a wide loop around the Capitol but are advised on a Facebook event page "to avoid any violent or destructive action" or else risk arrest. Last week, a similar rally attracted hundreds of people, according to reports, some holding coat hangers or shouting chants such as "Who's choice?" "Our choice!"